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Howie Mandel on Returning to ’America’s Got Talent’ for ‘Amazing’ Season 17 (Exclusive)

Howie Mandel on Returning to ’America’s Got Talent’ for ‘Amazing’ Season 17 (Exclusive)

Howie Mandel is amped for the new season of America's Got Talent, and the longtime judge has a fairly good idea why the auditions this time around are some of the best in recent memory.

ET's Matt Cohen recently spoke with Mandel ahead of Tuesday's season 17 premiere, and the comic teased the forthcoming episodes with three choice words: "Exciting, exciting, exciting."

"This year, it is off the hook. It’s not normal!" Mandel shared. "People are thinking outside the box. They really are! Nothing seems normal."

"Because of what the world has gone through, it seems like everybody was trapped in their little bubble," Mandel explained. "They were! They had to stay in their country and they couldn’t travel, whether they stayed home or they stayed home from school.

"Now, in season 17, they explode our stage," he added. "And the word explode is under-describing what people are doing."

Mandel recalled how, during his time behind the judges table during the auditions, he had a hard time expressing his utter amazement at the acts.

"I said like four words besides the 1000 times saying 'wow" or 'amazing.' I said 'wow' and 'amazing' until I made myself sick of saying 'wow' and 'amazing,'" Mandel recalled.

Mandel's love for the performances is in contrast with his reputation for being one of the show's toughest judges -- even compared to Simon Cowell -- but Mandel says he's "just brutally honest."

"What’s great is, I think we disagree but we agree to disagree. We respect the disagreement," Mandel said of his fellow judges. "We don’t have the same taste and that’s what we love about everybody there. That’s what I love about Heidi [Klum], Sofia [Vergara], and Simon."

"And Simon, I’m just glad to have him, [because] he keeps falling off his bike," Mandel quipped.

Season 17 of America's Got Talent kicks off Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET/PT on NBC.

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